Sports Opinion & Analysis

#FreeHochuli

In NFL on September 24, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Well, that about does it. After what just happened at the end of Monday Night Football, I am done standing up for the replacement refs. I am done saying “they’re doing the best they can,” and “who cares if they take more time, at least they’re making sure they make the right call.”

After Golden Tate somehow caught the ball while it was in the hands of the Green Bay defense, there is no more excuses for the scabs.

The replacement refs blew it. Plain and simple. They singlehandedly gave the game to the Seattle Seahawks.

The ref of the left calls touchback, the ref on the right calls touchdown.

It was all cute and laughable when the replacement refs were mistaking Arizona for Atlanta. When they were giving Seattle and San Francisco extra timeouts. But now when the most crucial call came down to the wire, they absolutely blew it. Their ineptitude cost a team a win, and when your sport’s season is only sixteen games long, a win is the difference between a potential shot at the Super Bowl, and an early vacation. This is the breaking point.

The NFL needs to bite the bullet and give Ed Hochuli and the rest of the refs whatever they are asking for. Back pay for the last few weeks is a small price to pay when calls like this are deciding the fate of the league. The NFL needs to do everything possible to make sure the real zebras are back in uniform for Thursday night’s Baltimore/Cleveland game. They simply must.

This isn’t about watchability or convenience. Right now the NFL, the biggest, most profitable professional sports franchise in the history of the  country is facing a legitimacy crisis. Right now, with calls like Tate’s miracle touchdown, the only difference between the NFL and the WWE is that at least the refs for the WWE know the rules of the farce they are supposed to oversee.

Golden Tate’s touchdown celebration.

The NFL’s replacement refs on the other hand, ran off the field without knowing the scoring team needed to kick an extra point afterward. They left the scene of their crime as fast as they possibly could. They ran into the locker room after M.D. Jennings had both hands on the ball, cradled it to his chest, and maintained position all the way to the ground while Golden Tate had one hand on it.

Given the circumstances, I don’t know if I can blame them.

The NFL needs to #FreeHochuli

They simply have to.

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